So there I was in the middle of Big Lots, fully five hours since I’d had a banana, surrounded by aisles of snacks and candy. I’d just dropped off Sky at her coaching job, and needed to get some tape, lightbulbs and a colander. I did end up buying some almonds, but was too thirsty – and too cheap to buy an overpriced cold drink – to have any.
Next stop, Kroger, to pick up something for dinner. It was 93 degrees, which didn’t help. Two hours before, I’d met with a client at a bar downtown, sipping an “Arnold Palmer” – a mix of lemonade and sweet tea – except it was made with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, a delightful concoction out of South Carolina. Problem is, alcohol is dehydrating and, as I said, it was 93-freakin’-degrees outside.
Both hungry and thirsty, I had to drive past numerous temptations on the way to Kroger – including my favorite Chinese takeout – but I resisted. I would be soon be home, where there’s yogurt, fat-free pudding and fresh fruit, including an uncut watermelon. (Yes, I said watermelon.)
I had to find something quick and easy for dinner. Me, I’d have a salad or one of the Smart Ones frozen dinners in the freezer. In the car, I decided on burgers and fries for the fam. But to get to Kroger’s meat department, I had to run a gauntlet of cookies, candy and all types of snacks. I chose the cookie aisle – pausing briefly in front of the reduced-fat Chips Ahoys – and emerged empty-handed and victorious, right in front of the seafood section.
I strolled down to the meats and I grabbed a pack of pre-fab sirloin burgers (on sale!), a pack of cheese and two packs of hamburger buns, then doubled-back to the frozen foods. I usually shop at the Super Wal-mart, but I was hungry, hot and dangerously low on patience. If I’d gone to Wal-mart, there would have been casualties. But I don’t know Kroger’s layout as well, which is how I ended up in the ice cream aisle. Wow. Have you seen Breyer’s new summer flavors?
My stomach was calling an audible. I’d only taken in 680 calories thus far today. The drink was probably another 70, so 750 calories, and it was 5 p.m. I was vulnerable and fading fast. I pressed on and finally found the fries, but not before something else stopped me dead in my tracks.
There it was, one of my favorite foods. I picked up a package, then put it back and picked up a smaller one. I then put it back and got the bigger one. No, I told myself, I’d be fine without it. But by then, all my resolve was gone. I bought it. Brought it home, and before I’d unpacked the groceries, put on a pot of water with a dash of basil, then dumped in at least 2 cups of . . . wait for it . . . green beans.
Yes, I’m chowing down on a big bowl of green beans as I write this. I told you before I’m addicted to the darn things, and there they were, right next to the frozen fries, calling my name. After I put them on the stove, I munched on an apple to tide me over until they were done.
Laugh if you must, but this is new behavior for me. And you know what? The bag of Chips Ahoy cost less. Not too long ago, I would have inhaled an entire row of those cookies, to the tune of 1,000 or so calories. A big bowl of green beans? Maybe 300.
Now, about that watermelon . . .
Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can't taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. ~ Astrid Alauda
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.